Want to upgrade your AR’s trigger? Shooting USA and Brownells have created a video tutorial that shows how to remove a factory AR trigger and replace it with an upgrade. This video illustrates the procedures to follow and the tools you’ll need. Step-by-step, the video explains how to swap the factory trigger group for a self-contained ‘box style’ drop-in trigger module or a traditional (multi-part) trigger system with enhanced performance.
Many AR-15s come from the factory with a military-type trigger that has a long, gritty, heavy pull. Replacing that trigger is one of the best ways to improve your AR’s performance. You’ll be rewarded with a smoother pull, shorter take-up, and reduced pull weight. You will also have a choice between a single-stage and a dual-stage trigger.
The box-style, self-contained drop-in systems from companies like AR Gold, CMC, Timney, and Wilson Combat are the easiest to install. John Scoutten explains: “These self-contained systems … are very simple to install. In fact, all you do is remove the factory parts, drop in the whole system, replace your pins, and you’re done.” Conventional two-piece trigger groups are offered by DPMS, Geissele, JP Enterprises, and Rock River.
The key points of the video tutorial are also explained on the Shooting USA website with text and still pictures. Before you start your trigger project, review Shooting USA’s AR Trigger Upgrade Page. You’ll find helpful close-up photos on that page.
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At long range, small bullet holes are much easier to see in the white than in the black. When you’re practicing at long range on high power targets, one way to enhance your ability to see your bullet holes is to print a “negative” version of the regulation bullseye target.
How do you create a “negative” of a target image? Many image programs, including the FREE Irfanview software, have a “Negative” function in the pull-down menu. If you don’t see a “Negative” menu option in your program, look for a “substitute colors” option. Many printers also have a “reverse colors” function. If you can’t find a solution with your computer or printer, just take a normal bullseye target to a copy shop, and the staff can easily print you a set of targets with white centers in black fields.
Forum member Watercam uses a Pentax PF-80ED spotting scope. With his 80mm Pentax he can see 6mm bullet holes in the white at 600 yards (in very good conditions), but holes in the black are only visible out to 400 yards or so. Accordingly, Watercam uses a modified “reversed” black-to-white target for 600-yard practice.
Watercam told us: “The view through the Pentax is very sharp and contrasty with great color. Eye relief with the Pentax 10-60 power zoom is 18-22mm (much more than the Kowa zoom), so I can use glasses with no problem. With my 6mm and limited mirage I’m seeing defined, 6mm holes in the white out to 600. In the black, I can see bullets holes at about 400 with my eyes. I am printing reverse-color targets for training without a pit partner at the 600-yard line.”
Brits Use New White-Field Target for F-Class
In the UK, ranges are now using a “reverse-style” target with a mostly white area. Laurie Holland says this allows shooters to see shots much more easily. Laurie reports: “Here’s a photo of the 500/600 yard F-Class match target we use in PSSA comps at Diggle Ranges with club members Chris Hull (L) and Terry Mann (R). We now use this target form at all ranges up to 1K for F-Class, and, yes you can often see your hits at 600 on the target before the markers pull it. Regards from England — Laurie”.
Day-Glo Stick-on Targets
If you’re not concerned with official scoring rings, you can use an all-white target with a bright, fluorescent target dot in the middle. A 2″- or 3″-diameter stick-on target dot is highly visible at 600 yards. With a high-quality scope, you can use the small black diamonds in the center for precise aiming. The Birchwood Casey Target Spots® assortment (item #33928-TSA) offers neon orange target dots in 1″, 2″, and 3″ diameters. This “value pack” includes 72-1″, 36-2″, and 24-3″ self-adhesive circles.
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AccurateShooter Forum member Allan, aka “1066″, has improved the performance of his RCBS balance-beam scale with some simple hardware modifications. In addition, Allan has cleverly fitted an inexpensive video camera to one end of his scale. This camera outputs a signal to Allan’s laptop computer, giving Allan a magnified, “big-screen” view of the pointer tip of his scale. That lets Allan observe ultra-small movements of the beam. With the hardware upgrades and video display, Allan has crafted a system with usable sensitivity to a single grain of Varget powder.
Hardware “Mods” Enhance Scale Reliability and Sensitivity
To upgrade his scale, Allan first fabricated a new U-shaped pan suspension hanger on the end of the scale. This allowed the pan to center more reliably and consistently. Next Allan extended the pointer arm at the opposite end, and attached a very fine graduated vertical scale to provide a more precise visual read-out. This scale has marks corresponding to 0.1 grains (one-tenth of a grain).
To improve the function of the beam itself, Allan “cleaned-up” the knife edges on which the beam moves, and Allan also fabricated a simple “approach to weight” fixture (with foam cushion) that gives the beam a smoother transition as it nears max travel.
Inexpensive Video Camera Displays on Laptop Screen
Allan’s real genius was in fitting an inexpensive video camera to display a magnified image of the pointer at the end of the beam. Seeing the “big picture” really helps get the best precision from the scale. Allan acquired a cheap web-cam and attached it via a simple bracket to the RCBS scale. A USB cable delivers the video output to Allan’s laptop. Allan says the web-cam cost less than $20.00 on eBay and required no special software. It was a “plug and go” installation. With the video camera running, the onscreen image is “super-sized” so Allan can track the smallest movements of the pointer tip. You can see how the whole system works in the video below. To dispense powder, Allan uses a slick automated trickler, explained next.
TargetMaster Automatic trickler Uses “Electric-Eye” for Automatic Shut-off
The final element in Allan’s high-tech balance beam scale system is a Targetmaster automatic trickler. This unique UK-made trickler is very advanced. It has two components — a dispenser, and a remote sensor that “watches” the movement of the balance beam. Allan pushes a button to start the powder flowing. As the load in the pan approaches the correct weight, an electric eye senses the position of the balance beam. Once the beam “hits the mark” for a correct load, the remote sensor shuts off the trickler. It sounds complicated but it works perfectly.
TargetMaster Trickler Components and Operation
The TargetMaster automated Trickler is a pretty impressive piece of kit that can be adapted to a wide variety of balance beam scales. The components and functions of the TargetMaster automated trickler are shown in the video below, provided by the manufacturer in the UK. To learn more about this reloading accessory, visit TargetMasterUK.com.
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Tikkas are boring, nondescript hunting rifles right? Wrong. Check out this Tikka T3 tactical with “attitude”. For the British Shooting Show earlier this year, the folks at Osprey Rifles placed a Tikka T3 action into a modern modular chassis: “A standard factory Tikka T3 was fully Cerakoted and dropped into a Third Eye Tactical chassis stock which also had the Cerakote treatment. It certainly pulled a crowd and was sold on the Show’s first day! We have been commissioned to do another one straight away.”
Click Photos to see larger version.
If you like that chassis, it can be ordered through Osprey Rifles. The latest chassis stock system from Third Eye Tactical is currently available for both the Remington 700 short action and the Tikka T3, with prices starting at $1041.00 (£620.00).
Third Eye Tactical Chassis Stock Features:
- Bottom metal designed to take short action AICS magazines (magazine not included)
- Choice of three fore-ends, and additional fore-ends available separately
- Adjustable cheek piece is standard
- Integral monopod is standard
- Picatinny rail attachments are available
- Folding butt kit is available
- All stocks come Cerakoted as standard, available in several colors or with camouflage pattern.
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Here’s a cool new optics mount at a very attractive price — just $87.95. Midsouth Shooter’s Supply is now featuring the Warne Skeletonized integrated scope mount for Picatinny Rails. This should work great on flat-top ARs. And for you fashionistas out there, the Warne mount is offered in four different colors: Matte Black, Dark Earth (tan), Ruby Red, and Bold Blue. Tactical shooters will probably pick black or tan sets, while image-conscious 3-Gun competitors might favor the Red or Blue versions.
These Warne integrated ring/mount sets are offered for 1″, 30mm, and 34mm rings. The 1″ and 30mm versions come in all four (4) colors and cost $87.95. The 34mm is offered in Matte Black only for $115.00. You may want to order soon. These are popular. The most popular colors (black and dark earth) could sell out quickly at this price.
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Here’s a tip we feature every year or so, because it is something that costs nothing, yet can be very useful in the reloading process. With a simple, easy modification to a fired case, you can determine the length to lands in your rifle barrel. As long as you set the tension right, the measurements should be repeatable, and you’ve just saved yourself $31 — the price of a commercial OAL gauge.
To achieve best accuracy with a rifle, you must control bullet seating depth very precisely, so all bullets end up in the same place relative to the entrance of the lands, every time. There may be multiple cartridge OALs which prove accurate. However, with each, you first need to determine a “zero” point — a reliable, and repeatable OAL where the bullet is “just touching” the lands.
There are tools, such as the Hornady (formerly Stoney Point) OAL Gauge, that will help you find a seating OAL just touching the lands. However, the tool requires that you use a special modified case for each cartridge you shoot. And, while we find that the Hornady OAL Gauge is repeatable, it does take some practice to get in right.
Make Your Own Length-to-Lands Gauge with a Dremel
Here’s an inexpensive alternative to the Hornady OAL tool — a slotted case. Forum member Andris Silins explais how to create a slotted case to measure length to the lands in your rifle:
“Here’s what I did to find length to lands for seating my bullets. I made four cuts into the neck of fire-formed brass. Then I pressed the bullet in lightly and chambered the entire gauge. As the cartridge chambers, the bullet slides back into the case to give you length to lands. It took less than five minutes to get it cut and working. A little light oil in the barrel just past the chamber helps ensure the bullet does not get stuck in the lands. It works great and is very accurate.
I made the cuts using a Dremel with a cut-off wheel. You can adjust tension two ways. First, you can make the cuts longer or shorter. Longer cuts = less tension. If you used only three cuts insted of four you would get more tension. The trick is to be gentle when you open and close the bolt. If you ram the bolt closed you may wedge the bullet into the lands. When you open the bolt it helps to keep a finger or two near by to guide the case out straight because the ejector wants to push it sideways.”
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Do you have a tactical rifle project in the works, or are you looking to upgrade the bottom metal on your existing bolt gun? Then head over to the PT&G website before the end of month. During April Pacific Tool & Gauge (PT&G) is running a Bottom Metal Blow-Out Sale. You can save 15-42% on quality Bottom metal for a variety of rifle types — Colt, Howa, Remington, Ruger, Winchester. On sale this month are both flush and extended options for detachable box magazines. In addition, you’ll find a variety of hinged, flush bottom metal sets for conventional internal magazines.
New PT&G Bottom Metal for Ruger Actions
Ruger owners take note — PT&G is now taking orders for DBM-capable Stealth bottom metal for Ruger rifles. This bottom metal in offered in both Short Action and Long Action Versions. It will fit the M77, M77 Scout (short action only), and M77 Hawkeye, and Ruger American (with aftermarket stock). The Short Action Version is now $99 (28% off) while the Long Action verision is $119.50 (20% Off).
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Gun, guns, and more guns — that’s what you’ll find in the May issue of Shooting Illustrated. This special edition, Shooting Illustrated’s largest-ever issue, features more than 100 new firearms. Novel features, technical specifications, and MSRP are included for all 100+ new firearms in the spotlight. From Alexander Arms to Yankee Hill Machine Company, if it’s a new handgun, rifle or shotgun introduced in 2014, chances are Shooting Illustrated has it covered this month.
In addition to covering 100+ new guns for 2014, this issue also includes Shooting Illustrated’s “best of the best” selections from 2013. The Golden Bullseye Award is given to the most innovative, practical and affordable products introduced last year. Also in the May issue is a detailed review of Ruger’s new SR-762 semi-automatic rifle, a piston-driven .308 Win, AR-platform rifle. Look for these articles and more in the May issue of Shooting Illustrated. For more information, visit Shooting Illustrated.com.
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EuroOptic.com is running a huge Spring Clearance Sale on scopes, rifles, handguns, accessories and more. Now through the end of April, you can save hundreds of dollars. Here are some examples:
20% Off all Bushnell Elite Tactical Riflescopes (in-stock)
Free Leupold 4-14x50mm MK 4 LRT scope with Purchase of Barrett M82A1
18% Off all HK Handguns (in-stock)
15% Off all Sig-Sauer Firearms (in-stock)
The Spring Clearance Sale runs through the end of April, so don’t delay — you have two more weeks to enjoy these savings. NOTE: in addition to the Clearance Specials shown below, EuroOptic.com has great Spring Clearance Deals on Nightforce, Schmidt & Bender, and Zeiss scopes. You can save hundreds of dollars on these top-quality optics. For example, the Nightforce Benchrest 8-32×56 NP1- RR C115 (discontinued) is on sale for just $949.00. And the Gen 1 Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition scope (.125 MOA DDR reticle) is just $1750 — that’s a $500.00 savings over the original price.
Sale Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Here’s a great video from German ammo-maker GECO (part of the Swiss RUAG group of companies). Employing advanced 3D rendering and computer graphics, this animation unveils the inside of a pistol cartridge, showing jacket, lead core, case, powder and primer. Next the video shows an X-ray view of ammo being loaded in a handgun, feeding from a magazine.
Then it really gets interesting. At 1:32 – 1:50 you’ll see the firing pin strike the primer cup, the primer’s hot jet streaming through the flash-hole, and the powder igniting. Finally you can see the bullet as it moves down the barrel and spins its way to a target. This is a very nicely-produced video. If you’ve ever wondered what happens inside a cartridge when you pull the trigger, this video shows all. They say “a picture’s worth a thousand words”… well a 3D video is even better.
For Best Viewing, Click Gear Symbol and Select HD Playback Mode
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We know many of our readers will attend the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits next week in Indianapolis. There is plenty to keep you busy, notably hundreds of industry vendors displaying their latest firearms and shooting-related products. But if you can break free from the guns and accessories in the Exhibit Hall there are some interesting seminars you many want to attend. First, Chris Cheng will explain his experiences — how a Google techie became the Top Shot Season 4 Champion. Second, 3-Gun Ace Travis Gibson talks about the rapidly growning sport of multi-gun competition. Finally, Tom Marx will lead an in-depth, 4-hour seminar on concealed carry equipment and methodologies.
Seminar: Shoot to Win
Tips, Tactics and Techniques to Shoot Like a Pro
Times: April 25 at 11:00am and April 26 at 2:30pm
Location: Room 136
Description: Chris Cheng, Top Shot season 4 Champion, tells his own personal underdog story of how a tech support worker at Google with very little firearm experience beat out 17 accomplished shooters and claimed the title of TV’s “Top Shot.” Hear anecdotes about the show and join Cheng as he discusses what it took to beat the odds and how you can train and prepare to shoot like a pro.
Seminar: 3-Gun 101
Date: April 25 at 11:00 am and April 26 at 11:00 am
Location: Room 138
Description: Take aim with the fast growing sport of 3-Gun! Speaker Travis Gibson demonstrates what a typical 3-Gun match looks like at the club, regional and national levels. You’ll learn how the events are scored and the various types of target presentations that you will experience with rifle, shotgun and pistol. Travis will also cover equipment requirements with you for each division and discuss the gear needed for those divisions. If you’re looking to get your started in 3-gun competitions, you should attend this seminar.
Seminar: Methods of Concealed Carry
Date: April 25, 2014 at 1:00pm and April 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm
Location: Room 237-239
Description: Tom Marx, a former police officer, and experienced Concealed Carry trainer brings his extensive and in-depth program to the Annual Meetings. This is a serious, four-hour lecture and demonstration program, intended for both officers and civilians. Marx covers all the key subjects guns, ammo and holsters, clothing, carrying environments, physical conditioning, and women’s issues. The lecture follows a segmented, building block approach so that those who cannot attend for the full four hours, can still leave (or come and go) with solid points to take home and put to use in their daily lives.
Here is a full list of Special Events at the 2014 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits:
In the above video, a spokesman for Horus Vision explains how and why scopes can experience zero shift. First, just cleaning the gun can cause a small shift in point of impact. Second, when you re-tighten rings and ring bases, this can cause a change in zero. Horus recommends that you use a torque wrench to confirm that you maintain the same torque settings each time. The same goes for action screw tension — tensioning your action screws can shift the point of impact.
Other factors that can cause a change in zero:
Dramatic ranges of temperature will change your zero, because the air density affects the velocity of the bullet. With increased temperature, there may be a higher velocity (depending on your powder).
Gun Handling and Body Position
You rifle’s point of impact will be affected by the way you hold the gun. A “hard hold” with firm grip and heavy cheek weld can give you a different POI than if you lightly address the gun. Even when shooting a benchrest gun, the amount of shoulder you put into the rifle can affect where it prints on paper.
Type of Rifle Support — Bench vs. Field
Whenever you change the type of rifle support you use, the point of impact can shift slightly. Moving from a bipod to a pedestal rest can cause a change. Similar, if you switch from a mechanical rest to sandbags, the gun can perform differently. That’s why, before a hunt, you should zero the gun with a set-up similar to what you would actually use in the field — such as a rucksack or shooting sticks.
Transportation of Firearms
Even if you don’t mishandle your weapon, it is possible that a shift of zero could occur during transport. We’ve seen zero settings change when a tight plastic gun case put a side load on the turrets. And in the field, if the turret knobs are not covered, they can rub against clothing, gear, storage bags, scabbard, etc. If the knobs turn, it will definitely move your reticle slightly and cause your point of impact to be off.
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